Messages from Around the Globe

Messages from Around the Globe

Did you know that complaining about regulations is a universal pastime?  It is! And from what I can tell, Americans have every right to dominate that conversation.

Plus, from a show of hands, or lack thereof, the audience at a presentation given by NAB’s Randy Lindner, indicated we might be the only country in the world that regulates long-term care administrators.  Could this be true?!

Recently, while I was off traveling the world and learning about Ferrari’s “Formula One” philosophy, I checked off a major accomplishment from my bucket list:  I spoke at my first international conference, IAHSA in Perth, Australia.

Here are some of my favorite messages shared by our friends in aging services from around the globe:

  1. Constantly ask yourself, “What is blinding me?” My buddy Dr. Al Power shared this one and I think it has huge implications for any and every one. Use your knowledge and experience, but be aware that it could be blinding you to seeing other information and solutions.  Even as an M.D. he recognizes the importance of this!
  2. Empower and engage your family members through a Family Advisory Panel! Michael Preece, CEO of the Maurice Zeffert Home shared his organization reduced complaints 90% after implementing a panel.  This is no gripe session!  It’s a group that is reviewing policies, conducting satisfaction surveys, making recommendations based on the survey feedback, and represented on various organizational committees.
  3. Involve residents and family members in interviewing new employees! The Family Advisory Panel at the Maurice Zeffert Home receives the same training for hiring new employees as their managers and supervisors. Plus, I was very impressed to learn, they have the same veto rights as any other interviewing manager!
  4. Recognize that people with dementia are still people. Dr. Power shared the powerful message, “Human beings are happy. Human beings cry.  As humans we all get frustrated once in a while.  But when a person with dementia exhibits these same emotions they are labeled behaviors.”  He then shared that as wonderful as non-pharmaceutical approaches are, they aren’t any more person-centered than a pill if we are just applying them to everyone as “one size fits all”.  Both of those concepts seem like a no-brainer, but I know I haven’t done the best job with either in the past!
  5. Do not downplay the importance of identity through titles. This is something I have said for years, but while in Australia I heard a new one that I absolutely loved!  A nursing assistant referred to as a “Wellness Ambassador.”  What does that title do for a person’s identity and their outlook?  Apply this concept to your committees too!  A “Difficult Behaviors Committee” or perhaps a “Discovery Committee”?  Which conjures up images of unearthing new information about a resident that can help to individualize care and support?
  6. Focus on teaching your managers coaching skills. Jenny Williams, from Amana Living, shared that these skills are crucial to building a team of leaders.  Coach others and get coached. I’m a firm believer in coaching for people who are willing to put in the effort to improve.  Not only do I offer professional coaching services to my clients, I am also the recipient of coaching because it helps me focus, keeps me accountable, and provides me with “ah-ha” moments that I never could have achieved without discussing my obstacles or ideas with a coach.
  7. Follow through on changes to create sustainability. Numerous presenters shared that “sticking to it” was crucial to their success. Anchoring change is critical (it’s the last of the 4-step process we use in our organizational assessments).  If you have two people show up for a meeting, have it anyway!  Be consistent, follow through on your promise of regular meetings, and with time more people will attend, making it a productive forum.

Bonus Idea:  Loved the concept of having applicants for a job do a group task together.  The people who get the job are those who help others do well!

My presentation focused on transforming disengaged employees. If you would you like to download a copy you can do so here. (There is a charge and I don’t make one cent, Australian or American, off of it!)


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